“We are talking about taking the biggest technology breakthrough of our time and using it to address our greatest national challenge,” Kathleen Sebelius U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said during her keynote presentation at the mHealth Summit in Washington DC this morning. Sebelius envisioned a “remarkable future” where control over a patient’s own health was always within their control. She listed off a number of potential use cases for mobile health, including remote diagnosis of skin conditions using smartphone cameras; scheduling lab tests without a physician or medical office staff “lifting one finger”; working with your doctor to manage your own health every day instead of just once a year, she said.
Sebelius said that few industries have grown as quickly as mobile health has in the past two years since the first mHealth Summit in 2009, which Sebelius also keynoted. Sebelius noted the rapid growth of smartphones – more than half of all phones sold in the US this past year were smartphones – and that we are “increasingly” using our phones to track and manage our health.
Recent survey data published by Pew might throw a little cold water on that last statement: Pew found statistically insignificant growth for health app adoption among those surveyed for its 2010 and 2011 reports.
Sebelius also noted that there are “nearly 12,000 apps related to health” currently available in app store, and that’s a number “that is probably going up as I speak this morning,” she said. (This is true – dozens of health-related apps launch each week.)
Mobile technology has improved the consumer experience for almost every part of our lives, Sebelius noted, but healthcare has been until recently a notable exception. Sebelius said that healthcare has “stubbornly held on” to its old ways while other service industries like banking have embraced mobile. Keep reading>>